Northwest Fire Region – July 21, 2021 – Wildfire Update

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Wildfire Update

Thunder Bay – Wildfire Update –  At the time of this update there were 170 active fires in the region. 83 fires are not under control, 17 fires are being held, 50 are being observed and 20 fires are under control.

Firefighters from Ontario, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Mexico are in the fight to save communities.

Evacuations of several First Nation communities leaving only essential people behind is complete so far.

  • There were 24 new fires confirmed in the northwest region by the early evening of July 21. These fires are located in the following districts: Red Lake (2); Sioux Lookout (8); Dryden (4); Nipigon (4); Kenora (1); Thunder Bay (3) and Fort Frances (2).
  • The wildland fire hazard remains high to extreme in the eastern portion of the region as well as areas of Red Lake, Dryden and Sioux Lookout districts. A low to moderate hazard exists in the southwest portion of the region and areas of the far north.
  • Smoke drift in Red Lake, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, and Nipigon will continue to be experienced by communities in close proximity to wildland fires in those Districts and across the far north.  Smoke drift from fires burning in the western provinces of Canada may also be detectable today across much of the province.
  • AFFES is currently responding to many fires on the landscape. Stay informed of the location, size, status of all active wildland fires in the province on the interactive fire map at Ontario.ca/forestfire

Fires of Note

Red Lake 65 – of concern to Poplar Hill First Nation

  • Fire is sized at 16,651 hectares and is 7km northwest of the community.
  • Fire behavior has been limited by recent rainfall and the fire has not advanced significantly toward the community.
  • Drier, warmer conditions are expected to return later this week bringing higher fire behavior.
  • Smoke continues to hamper aerial operations though the fire’s eastern edge continues to be monitored.
  • Three FireRanger crews are assigned to protect the community and critical infrastructure.
  • An aerial ignition team will work to bring the fire to natural boundaries. When safe to do so ground crews will be added with support from bucketing helicopters.
  • The Ministry of the Solicitor General has coordinated an evacuation of the community.

Red Lake 51 – of concern to Deer Lake First Nation

  • Fire size is sized at 51,185 hectares and is located approximately 24 kilometres west of the community.
  • Recent rainfall has limited fire behavior and the fire has not advanced significantly towards the community.
  • Drier, warmer conditions are expected to return later this week bringing higher fire behavior.
  • Three crews are focused on the protection of the community and critical infrastructure.
  • An ignition team is looking for opportunities to bring the fire to natural boundaries.
  • The Ministry of the Solicitor General has coordinated an evacuation of the community.

Sioux Lookout 60 – of concern to Cat lake First Nation

  • The fire has been remapped at 850 hectares and located 8 kilometres west of the community.
  • The fire displayed limited activity on July 20
  • Community protection efforts are ongoing.

Red Lake 77 – Fire of concern to Red Lake

  • Fire is not under control at 23,404 hectares.
  • Red Lake 77 is approximately 28 kilometres west/northwest of Madsen and is located approximately 33 kilometres west of Red Lake. The fire has not moved significantly closer to the community.
  • A total of 30 pieces of heavy equipment and their operators have been engaged in building approximately 40 kilometres of fire guard in strategic areas.
  • The Red Lake sector recorded 26 new fire starts, Monday, with a large concentration of them to the east of the community. Crews have been working hard to respond to extinguish these new fire starts.
  • Crews are working alongside municipal firefighters to protect the community and critical infrastructure.

Kenora 51

  • Fire is not under control and remapped at 136,361 hectares.
  • Fire has been active over the past several days producing smoke at the local level.
  • Crews are working to identify ignition opportunities to bring the fire to natural boundaries.
  • An Incident Management Team is established on the fire

Restrictions to Forest Management Plans in the Northwest Region

Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services has been advised by NDMNRF Regional Operations Division that restrictions have been imposed with respect to Forest Management Plans in Northwestern Ontario. These restrictions are in effect as of 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on July 21, 2021 until such time as the order is revoked. See map (PDF).

The following activities governed by an approved Forest Management Plan and associated Annual Work Schedule under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act are prohibited:

  1. Road Construction including:
    • stripping with bulldozer
    • blasting without mats
    • building, spreading and shaping sub-grade with back hoe/excavator
  2. Harvesting using the following equipment:
    • tracked equipment such as feller-bunchers, or machines with rotary cutting heads
    • vehicles with tire chains (i.e. forwarders, skidders)
    • mechanized equipment with rubber tires (no chains) (i.e. forwarders, skidders)
    • power saw / chainsaw
  3. Processing:
    • delimbing, slashing, portable saw mills
    • portable chipping
    • power saw / chainsaw
  4. Silviculture:
    • mechanized site preparation
    • mechanical tending with chain flails and mowers; hydro-axe; slash piling
    • brush saw/chainsaw thinning
  5. Other:
    • hot work: welding, torch cutting and grinding

The following activities carried out in a forest area as part of an industrial operation as defined under Ontario Regulation 207/96 are prohibited unless carried out as part of emergency maintenance or repairs and all mitigation measures under subsection 19(2) of O. Reg. 207/96 are implemented:

  1. a) Operation that uses heavy machinery equipped with metal parts that may come into contact with rocks or similar material in the normal course of operation and cause a spark.
    b) Stripping of the surface vegetation and forest floor with heavy machinery.
    c) Hot work.
    d) Rail production grinding.
    e) Blasting of rock or soil without use of blasting mats.
    f) Switch crossing grinding.
    g) Operations using a channel saw where the surface vegetation and forest floor have not been removed up to a distance of at least three metres from the place where the channel saw is being operated on the worksite.
    h) Delimbing or slashing felled trees with heavy machinery.
    i) Using a portable saw mill.
    j) Slash piling.
    k) Building, spreading or shaping the sub-grade with a back hoe or excavator.
    l) Operation using three or more brush saws.
    m) Operation using heavy machinery with rubber tires and no chains.
    n) Drilling operation that does not use water as a coolant or flushing agent and that is carried out in an area that has not been cleared of the surface vegetation and forest floor.
    o) Induced polarization surveys using a power generator.

Restrictions due to forest fire activity in the Red Lake District  

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, Red Lake District, is advising the public that due to extreme forest fire activity, an Implementation Order is now in effect until further notice that restricts access and use of certain roads and Crown lands.

All travel, use and access to the following areas are prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Red Lake District office.

Specifically, all modes of travel and use of the North road, Pineridge Road, Suffel Lake Road, Iriam Road and the portion of Longlegged Road west of the junction of Conifer Road and Longlegged Road.

All modes of travel/access onto Storey lake, Philip lake, Nungesser lake, including the Sahkeesahkahteekoh weesuhkaheegahn (Pringle Lake, Dedicated Protected Area (Ontario Parks)); Woodland Caribou Provincial Park is closed. This includes all access points off Suffel lake Road, Pineridge Road and Iriam Road. Including all modes of travel/access from the Manitoba-Ontario boarder including the Little Grand Rapids dedicated protected planning area, Weeskayjahk Ohtahzhoganiing (Lake country, Dedicated Protected Area) and all Crown land as outlined in the hatched area identified on the Implementation order map.

For information on how to obtain a travel permit please call 807-727-1345.
To view a map of the implementation order area at ontario.ca/forestfire click here.

Restrictions due to forest fire activity in the Kenora District – Werner Lake Road

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, Kenora District, is advising the public that due to extreme forest fire activity from the Kenora 51 fire, an Implementation Order is now in effect until further notice that restricts access and use of certain roads and Crown lands.

All travel, use and access to the following areas are prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Kenora District Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.


This includes all travel and use of the Werner Lake Road from the Manitoba Border eastward to the end of the road.
All use or occupation of Crown lands, on or within 500 metres of the identified road, is prohibited.

For information on how to obtain a travel permit please call 807-468-2501.
To view a map of the implementation order area at ontario.ca/forestfire, click here.

Restricted Fire Zone in effect

Due to high to extreme forest fire hazard conditions, effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday July 10, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry has issued updated boundaries for a Restricted Fire Zone in the Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and Thunder Bay Districts and portions of the Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, Nipigon and Wawa Districts.  The Restricted Fire Zone will be in effect until further notice. Outdoor fires are banned. Portable gas stoves may still be used BUT must be handled with extreme care.  You can learn more about Restricted Fire Zones here. For a more detailed boundary of the Restricted Fire Zone see the attached map, consult the interactive fire map at Ontario.ca/forestfire or find the map here.